Genre: Science Fiction
Publication Date: October 11th, 2022
Pages: 368 paperback
The Spare Man is a stylish mystery by Hugo, Locus, and Nebula award-winning author Mary Robinette Kowal set on an interplanetary liner between Earth and Mars.
Tessa Crain, one of the richest women in the world, is on her honeymoon on an interplanetary space liner, cruising between Earth and Mars. But she’s traveling incognito, and someone has targeted her new husband as the perfect person to frame for murder.
The Thin Man in space. Murder on a starliner. What’s not to love?
I liked it, but I didn’t love it, unlike Kowal’s Glamourist and Lady Astronaut series. The heroine, Tesla Crane, frankly annoyed me. There was not enough of the lightness of The Thin Man, but there were constant references to drinking, occasionally witty banter, and, of course, the obligatory adorable dog, Gimlet.
I wanted to like Tesla. She survived a horrific accident and suffers from chronic pain, and suffers from PTSD. I admit, I’m not sure how I’d behave were my husband to be implicated in a murder while we were on our honeymoon, but she states that she refrains from using her fame to bully people, and then does precisely that. She puts herself in danger unnecessarily, and seems more to luck into puzzling things out than in actual deduction. The red herrings were more pink, and the story dragged in places.
This book will appeal to many readers, but it just didn’t work for me.